Seeking to get out and adventure in 2021? Here are some of the best skywatching events, including meteor showers, supermoons, and lunar eclipses, set to dazzle the skies this year above Colorado.
1. Quadrantid Meteor Shower (January 2-3)
The Quadrantid meteor shower runs from December 27th, 2020 to January 10th, 2021. During peak activity, up to 25 meteors per hour may be visible. While the meteors often lack persistent trains, they are also known for producing "bright fireballs," according to the American Meteor Society.
2. Lyrid Meteor Shower (April 21-22)
The Lyrid meteor shower is set to peak on the evening of April 21 into the early morning hours of April 22, sending 15 to 20 shooting stars across the night sky per hour. This meteor shower is active from April 16 to 30, 2021.
3. Supermoon (April 26-27)
The first supermoon of 2021 will shine in April, glowing again in May and June. April's supermoon is called the Pink Moon, a name that comes from the early spring flower known as the "moss pink" or wild creeping phlox, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon is at it closest to point to Earth, making it appear larger and even a little brighter than usual.
4. Total lunar eclipse (May 26)
The Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow come May, creating a total lunar eclipse. Total lunar eclipses are referred to as “blood moons,” as the moon often changes in color from white to red. According to seasky.org, the eclipse is expected to be visible throughout parts of western North America.
5. Perseid meteor shower (August 11-12)
Don't miss one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year! The Perseid meteor shower is active from July 17 to August 26th, featuring as many as 50 to 75 shooting stars per hour.
6. Partial lunar eclipse (November 19)
Mark your calendars for the third week of November. A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow or penumbra. During this type of eclipse, the Moon slightly darkens often turning a rusty orange or red color.
7. Geminid Meteor Shower (December 13–14)
Mark your calendars for perhaps the most dramatic star show of the year. Active from December 4 to 17, 2021, the Geminids will put on a dazzling show for skywatchers. While the moon is expected to be nearly full, peak rates for the shower can range anywhere from 50 to 120 shooting stars per hour. Winter weather is also known to interfere with visibility.
Wishing on a shooting star? Here are some of the best spots for stargazing in Colorado.